The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 66

to my duty and responsibility as an officer.

The utter hopelessness that was reflected in his face must have been
the counterpart of what I myself felt, but in that brief instant I
determined to hide my own misgivings that I might bolster up the
courage of the others.

"We are lost!" was written as plainly upon Taylor's face as though his
features were the printed words upon an open book. He was thinking of
the launch, and of the launch alone. Was I? I tried to think that I
was. But a greater grief than the loss of the launch could have
engendered in me, filled my heart--a sullen, gnawing misery which I
tried to deny--which I refused to admit--but which persisted in
obsessing me until my heart rose and filled my throat, and I could not
speak when I would have uttered words of reassurance to my companions.

And then rage came to my relief--rage against the vile traitor who had
deserted three of his fellow countrymen in so frightful a position. I
tried to feel an equal rage against the woman, but somehow I could not,
and kept searching for excuses for her--her youth, her inexperience,
her savagery.

My rising anger swept away my temporary helplessness. I smiled, and
told Taylor not to look so glum.

"We will follow them," I said, "and the chances are that we shall
overtake them. They will not travel as rapidly as Snider probably
hopes. He will be forced to halt for fuel and for food, and the launch
must follow the windings of the river; we can take short cuts while
they are traversing the detour. I have my map--thank God! I always
carry it upon my person--and with that and the compass we will have an
advantage over them."

My words seemed to cheer them both, and they were for starting off at
once in pursuit. There was no reason why we should delay, and we set
forth down the river. As we tramped along, we discussed a question
that was uppermost in the mind of each--what we should do with Snider
when we had captured him, for with the action of pursuit had come the
optimistic conviction that we should succeed. As a matter of fact, we
had to succeed. The very thought of remaining in this utter wilderness
for the rest of our lives was impossible.

We arrived at nothing very definite in the matter of Snider's
punishment, since Taylor was for shooting him, Delcarte insisting that
he should be hanged,

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